Martin Luther And Bible Translation Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483. He lived on a farm where his parents raised seven children. He began his schooling at age four and he later entered the monastery when he was twenty-two in 1505. After entering the monastery a good friend of Luthers passed away. This traumatic experience made Luther start thinking about life, death, and his destiny. Pondering these new thoughts led Luther to focus on Christian studies.
On April 4, 1507 Luther was ordained a priest. With his new status among the church Luther was cautious because not only did he respect the power of God he also feared it. There were many scholars that translated the bible from Greek to the German language. Martin Luther was the most famous of them all. Other notable attempts to translate the bible were made by Hans Denck, Johann Dietenberger, and Ludwig Hatzer. These scholars and writers gave their best effort to translate and improve upon the current version. It was not until Luthers translation that the German church had an acceptable bible to preach by.
Martin Luther believed in “one Church, established by Christ and that he was reforming it” (Todd 99). In 1517 Luther expressed his disappointment with the Catholic Church by publishing his Ninety-Five Theses. After the publication Luther began to receive political pressure for his criticism of the Catholic Church. However, Luther persevered and held strong to his beliefs. Luther was so disturbed about the direction the Church was going that he decided to form his own religion. This version of Catholic faith is called Lutheranism.
Luther, with his new religion saw the need for to have a book of guidelines to follow. It is about this time that Luther began the daunting task of translating the New Testament into German. He finished the translation from Greek to German about September 1522. He titled it Das Neue Testament Deutzsh which eventually became know as the September Testament. Soon, after Luther began translating the Old Testament as well.
These were printed in sections as soon as the translation was complete. He felt it was necessary for the German people know and learn about Jesus Christ. In 1534 Martin Luther completed his mission when the first German Bible was sent to print. There is no other way to describe Luthers translation except as the best of his time. I feel reference that Bluhm gives Luther is the only one who does him justice: Luthers German Bible is famous book, a classic no only of German but of world literature. Its eminence is universally recognized.
Beyond being the first as well as the foremost of the major Protestant versions of the Bible, it is one of the two greatest translations the Christian church of the West has produced. It was the earliest and most successful rival of the vulgate. Catholic as well as Protestant scholars fully recognize the high artistic level of Luthers German Bible. It is superior to the Vulgate both in accuracy and in literary quality (Bluhm 15). Martin Luther was very strongly committed to translating the Bible to German in its most pure form without his own opinions or bias conveyed with it.
He tried to capture what the scripture was really trying to say. Luthers background in Theology helped him a great deal with the translation of the Bible. His studies centered on “the hard intellectual thought about Christian doctrine” (Todd 231). Of all the many translations of the Bible that have been completed I feel that Martin Luthers was one of the best. He made Theology his lifes work and he continued to improve the Bible, Lutheranism, and all his works until he passed away in February 1545.
Works Cited Bluhm, Heinz. Martin Luter: Creative Translator. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1965 Todd, John M. Martin Luther: A Biographical Study.
Westminster: First American Printing, 1965.